Athletes lace running shoes no matter the conditions

Local runners took part at the B.C. High School Cross-Country Championships and the B.C. Cross-Country Championships.

Last week in this space we acknowledged the efforts of local elementary school cross-country athletes. So we’ll keep the running shoes on, this time to credit some other Nanaimo runners in recent events…

At the high school level, runners from several local schools took part recently at the B.C. High School Cross Country Championships. The event took place in Prince George and involved predictably wintry conditions. Despite that, there were excellent performances by a number of locals.

Leading the way was Miryam Bassett from Nanaimo District Secondary School, who placed second in a field of 251 runners in the girls’ competition. The route measured 4.3 kilometres and Bassett reached the finish line in just 17 minutes and 52 seconds. Just four seconds behind her in third place came Marita DeSchiffart representing Nanaimo Christian School in 17:56. Rebecca Bassett of NDSS was 11th overall with a time of 18:20, while Erica DeSchiffart from Nanaimo Christian finished 25th in 19:17 and Amy Morris of NDSS was 29th thanks to her time of 19:26. Other local girls in the top 100 of the field were Rachel Elliot from Dover Bay, Carly O’Sullivan of NDSS, and Dover Bay teammates Leah Kitsul and Madeleine Robinson.

In the boys’ race at provincials, 265 runners competed over 6.3km. Top local finishers were Dover Bay brothers Peter and Thomas Oxland. Peter completed the snowy course in 23:37 to earn ninth spot, while Thomas finished in 23:47 for 16th overall. Also in the top 100 were three other Dover Bay runners: Garrett Dunlop, Miles Huynh and Anthony Serban.

Meanwhile, Nanaimo Track and Field Club athletes were among those taking part at this year’s B.C. Cross Country Championships held in Abbotsford. Club representatives Tyler Heisterman and Terri Doughty send word that many Nanaimo runners did well in spite of poor weather conditions.

In the nine-year-old girls’ race covering 1,500m, Paige Higgins finished 10th with a time of 9:12. The boys’ race over the same distance saw Jake Seaman claim sixth in 6:51 and brother Ryan Seaman seventh in 7:02. Top local in the 2,000m 10-year-old girls’ event was Karly Dickinson, fourth with a time of 9:04. In the 10-year-old boys’ race, Keaton Heisterman came fourth in 8:59, with Ethan Anderson 15th in 10:20.

A time of 9:03 gave Kaitlyn Watson fourth place in the 2,000m race for 11-year-old girls, with teammate Courtney Anderton finishing 19th in 10:45. The 11-year-old boys’ event saw Nanaimo’s Nate Seaman place second in 8:15, while Ian Grabher was seventh in 8:52. A highlight of the meet came in the 12-year-old girls’ division, where Madison Heisterman earned a provincial title by winning the 3,000m race in 10:49. Also showing well were Hope Stewart, who finished seventh in 11:59 and Marina Andersen who was 17th in 13:11.

Running a 3,000m distance, Thomas Grabher was sixth in the 13-year-old boys’ event with a time of 10:53 and Nathan Anderton was 11th in 12:14. In the 14-year-old girls’ competition, Amy Morris took sixth place with a finish of 11:12, with Hayley Dickenson 12th in 12:54. Josh Bailey took sixth in the 14-year-old boys’ division thanks to his time of 10:04 and Carter Higgins was eighth in 10:14.

As a result of their performances in the older age divisions, siblings Joel and Erica DeSchiffart from the Nanaimo Track and Field Club earned selection to the B.C. Junior Cross Country team. Joel placed second in the 7km junior men’s race with a time of 22:54, while Erica was sixth in the 5km junior women’s event in 18:59. The local pair will now compete at the Canadian championships in Vancouver on Nov. 24.

Congratulations also to Sean Miller, whose time of 18:01 over 5km gave him ninth in the 16-17-year-old boys’ race. A tip of the cap also to former NTFC athlete Erin Burrett, who ran a 6km distance in 23:49 to finish ninth in the women’s open division.

Whatever your sport, a reminder in closing to play your hardest, play fair, and show good sportsmanship.

Ian Thorpe writes about sports Saturdays.